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Old 29-06-2011, 06:04   #16
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Re: Sailing during Hurricane Season in Caribbean - Need Advice

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Well, it's a small distinction but I'm actually in St. Martin Where did you get that data? It's good info.
Here you go: Let me google that for you
(I used the 1st link returned)

Ah, you are leaving in a year... that at least gives you a chance to beat the statistics... I hope you have more luck with it than we had

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 29-06-2011, 06:25   #17
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Re: Sailing during Hurricane Season in Caribbean - Need Advice

It sounds like you have approx. a 20 hour trip...( 140 miles/7kn ) or less.
You should be able to obtain a pretty accurate weather prediction 20 hours out going in either direction. But that's easy for me to say, sitting safely out of the hurricane belt....I suppose I'd have a plan ready for where I'd ride something out in the BVI.

I tend to agree with Btrayfors...keep and eye out and have fun.
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Old 30-06-2011, 10:17   #18
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Re: Sailing During Hurricane Season in Caribbean - Need Advice

Am I just crazy? Why would you sail during hurricane season? Am I just a scared little Cannuck? Seems to me that you are exposing yourself to something that would be well avoided but thats just me.
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Old 30-06-2011, 10:24   #19
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Re: Sailing During Hurricane Season in Caribbean - Need Advice

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Am I just crazy? Why would you sail during hurricane season? Am I just a scared little Cannuck? Seems to me that you are exposing yourself to something that would be well avoided but thats just me.
I'm with you, brother!

Sail in thre right season and cruising is great fun.

Be a fool and be terrified of losing your life. Wheres the fun in that?

We were in a Catagory 5 Cyclone in Australia and it was a VERY miserable feeling thinking I was going to die and take my girl down too, let alone the boat.

I am in Grenada (on the edge of the belt) with my eyes open and boat ready for boot scootin' south... should that be boat scootin?


One fool here the other day said: "We don't use the "H" word."



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Old 30-06-2011, 10:56   #20
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Re: Sailing During Hurricane Season in Caribbean - Need Advice

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Am I just crazy? Why would you sail during hurricane season? Am I just a scared little Cannuck? Seems to me that you are exposing yourself to something that would be well avoided but thats just me.

Well, I'm out in the Gulf of Mexico on day trips. The Gulf is dead flat in between storms, and that when the best fishing is. I watch the Noaa website for tropical waves from the coast of Africa, and track them across. A storm doesn't have to be classified as a "H" to ruin your day.

Any Low acompanied by a wave is probably where you do not want to be. If you're carefull and watch the satelite weather, you can mostly avoid them, kinda like rolling a wheel chair across a busy freeway by watching the traffic cam.
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Old 30-06-2011, 11:09   #21
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Re: Sailing During Hurricane Season in Caribbean - Need Advice

While it's prudent to be wary of hurricanes...and just plain foolish not to be....sailing during the summer in the BVI and USVI is not really a big deal. I did it for over 30 years, and hundreds of boats do too.

You just have to watch the weather reports carefully, and have a plan. Don't forget, the Virgin Islands is a tiny place compared to, e.g., the Bahamas. You can sail from one end to the other in a day. There are lots of nice hidey holes, though the best ones are sometimes crowded.

My boat -- a 42' Perry sloop -- went thru five (count 'em, 5) major hurricanes during the 11 years it was in the islands. "Major" meaning over 100 knots IN THE MARINA. I was at Nanny Cay for all of them, 4 in the water and one hauled out. Nanny Cay is perhaps the best hurricane hole in the islands, situated right up against a mountain and with good protection from a wide strip of land and a reef to the east.

This was very unusual for the Virgin Islands. Before Hugo in 1989, it had been over 30 years since the last major hurricane. Then, beginning with Marilyn -- which devastated St. Thomas, they seemed to come along much more frequently. Hopefully, that pattern has abated somewhat.

Other good holes include Paraquita Bay on Tortola's south shore, Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour, Hurricane Hole near the East end of St. John and one or two others.

In the end, though, it may be your insurance company which dictates what you can and cannot do.

Bill
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Old 30-06-2011, 11:14   #22
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Re: Sailing During Hurricane Season in Caribbean - Need Advice

I've only been closely watching NOAA for one hurricane season but it seems that they track conductive weather patterns extreamly well. In the case of TS Arlene, there was a good 48 hours from when they started tracking it to development. It went from 20%, 40%, then 80 or 90% before becomeing a TS. I realize they can form anytime but I haven't seen where they have formed as a complete surprise. The change from a tropical storm to hurricane is of course major.

Thank you for the advise.
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Old 30-06-2011, 11:22   #23
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Re: Sailing During Hurricane Season in Caribbean - Need Advice

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There are lots of nice hidey holes, though the best ones are sometimes crowded.

Nanny Cay is perhaps the best hurricane hole in the islands, situated right up against a mountain and with good protection from a wide strip of land and a reef to the east.

Other good holes include Paraquita Bay on Tortola's south shore, Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour, Hurricane Hole near the East end of St. John and one or two others.

In the end, though, it may be your insurance company which dictates what you can and cannot do.

Bill
Your suggestions of holes are good but as you point out, they will most likely be filled, except Coral Bay. Paraquita may be able to fit me in but they have to get all the charter boats situated first. I understand it's a goat rodeo leading up to landfall there.

Nanny would be my first choice. When you where there, was it filled up?
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Old 30-06-2011, 11:34   #24
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Re: Sailing During Hurricane Season in Caribbean - Need Advice

I docked my boat at Nanny Cay for 11 years, so no problem getting in.

I haven't been back in several years now, but I understand there has been a lot of development of the yard storage facilities. It may be that they require you to unstep the mast; not sure...maybe someone else has more recent info.

I've been watching hurricanes closely there since Hugo (1989), and sending reports to those in Tortola who needed the info and couldn't get it locally.

Normally, tropical storms form way out in the Atlantic, just west of the Canaries or Cape Verde. They are tracked closely by satellite and, if they form into hurricanes, are also investigated by 'hurricane hunter' aircraft. You normally have LOTS and LOTS of time before they could threaten the Virgins.

However, some form closer in to the Windwards and Leewards and, very rarely, you get one like 'Wrong Way Lenny' which formed near Haiti as I remember and actually tracked EAST. Wild. But, what you don't get is a hurricane forming and walloping the Virgins in just a day or so. Usually, again, there's lots of time to react IF you're watching the weather closely.

Beware of enclosed but large anchorages, like Ensenada Honda in the Spanish Virgins or The Lagoon in St. Martin. Both of these have been hit by major hurricanes with disasterous results for the boats which took "shelter" there.

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Old 30-06-2011, 11:59   #25
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Re: Sailing During Hurricane Season in Caribbean - Need Advice

Pallaran, there are some great adventure stories that start just like this. The last three years I have been living in St. MArtin there have not been any hurricanes in July... I think a couple of storms but no real nasty weather, however, if you decide to motor back to St. Martin in front of a hurricane and for any reason your engine or engines stop then you sit there becalmed until the thing mows you down. I wouldn't really think it was a good idea to be motoring anywhere with 48 hours of the thing getting there.... And we all know Oyster pond fills up very quickly when something nasty approaches..... Another little point in July normal weather patterns we have some really strong trade winds in that passage.... The sail back form BVI can be quite a nasty voyage.... make sure you leave enough time to get back to St. Martin sailing upwind into 25 or 30 knots. Lots of good hurricane holes in the BVIs.... but maybe a haulout in Puerto Rico through the season might be a good option too? A lot less stressful.
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Old 30-06-2011, 12:04   #26
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Re: Sailing During Hurricane Season in Caribbean - Need Advice

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Am I just crazy? Why would you sail during hurricane season? Am I just a scared little Cannuck? Seems to me that you are exposing yourself to something that would be well avoided but thats just me.
Actually it is my favorite time to sail.... especially around the North Eastern Caribbean.. the anchorages are empty... not so many Charter boats.... no crowds.... and as long as you watch the weather plenty of time to do something. You certainly don't go too far from your hole... but it is a beautiful time in the islands.
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Old 30-06-2011, 14:36   #27
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Re: Sailing During Hurricane Season in Caribbean - Need Advice

Thanks for the info sailingaway. Did the adventure stories end happily?

Fortunately I have two engines. The second one only adds 1.5 kts. of speed. So I can do 7 kts under one motor if need be.
I have a permanate dock space at Captain Olivers which is rigged for Palarran. If someone is in it when I return, they won't be after an hour. It's a great spot if you know the marina. I can run my anchor chain accross the open channel area and connect it to a piling. Then we pull the boat about 15' off the dock and spider line it.

The wind has been pretty consistant the last two weeks. We also kiteboard so 15 to 20 kts is nice. We will watch it often of course. It really isn't a problem to return early as we love Anguilla. Thank you for the advice.
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Old 30-06-2011, 14:54   #28
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Re: Sailing During Hurricane Season in Caribbean - Need Advice

btrayfores and sailingaway,
Since you both have so much experience with this area would you mind one more question? If you where leaving from North Sound back to Oyster Pond, and the winds are predominately from the East, would you tack to NE towards Sombrero and come through the Scrub Island cut, or would you go SE, come between Anguilla and St. Martin, and around. I was planning on the NE route.
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Old 30-06-2011, 15:09   #29
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Re: Sailing During Hurricane Season in Caribbean - Need Advice

Yeah, with an East wind I'd favor the NE route, too. From North Sound, I'd exit via the normal north channel, leaving Prickly Pear to starboard and Mosquito Island to port, then turn right and pass between Neckar Island and Prickly Pear Island and on out. Neckar Island is surrounded by coral heads and shoals.

Beware of two things:

1. Older charts of the area don't use the same datum which is in general use (WGS84). The channel between Neckar Island and Prickly Pear Island is only 1/4 mile wide, and the datum used on earlier charts differs by about 1/4 mile N/S and somewhat less than that E/W. Beware.

2. The currents in the Anegada Passage near the BVI can run in most any direction, and are sometimes quite strong. Watch your navigation.

Probably best to leave in mid-afternoon and do an overnite to St. Martin. Cooler at night and, if you get near St. Martin before sunup you can stand off until first light if you like (heave to on the offshore tack).

JMO,

Bill
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Old 30-06-2011, 15:27   #30
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Re: Sailing During Hurricane Season in Caribbean - Need Advice

There is a new Yacht Club Costa Smeralda at Oil Nut Bay. I'm wondering if they have marked the channel as indicated on the attached. I've been through this area via dingy and thought it was pretty shallow, but there are some mighty big yachts docked there.

A state-of-the-art Caribbean Superyacht Marina - YCCS Marina Virgin Gorda
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